“We had some good swings. We had our moments. Just by chance, there was no one on base when we popped a few balls over the fence.” Rocco Baldelli

YANKEES 10, TWINS 4

October 5, 2019

Rocco Baldelli

New York, New York – postgame 1

Yankees – 10, Twins -4

Q. Could you talk about the Game 2 plans at this point?
ROCCO BALDELLI: Pitching-wise? Dobnak is going to start for us tomorrow. And I can announce Odo is going to start Game 3, as well. Again, I wanted to make sure we got through tonight and we were set to name these guys anyway. So that’s what our plan was originally, too.

Q. (No microphone)?
ROCCO BALDELLI: A fine line. It was not an obvious move in any way. I think in this ballpark, the guy that throws the ball, keeps it on the ground pretty well was a good guy to look to. Dob’s been throwing the ball great for us, so I thought it made sense.

Q. Do you expect a lot of the games in this series to go like tonight and the difference will be with the home runs, who hits them when runners are on base, and there will be a lot of strikeouts? Just the timing of the home runs with the offense will be the key?
ROCCO BALDELLI: I would expect it to be a decent part of it. When you step out on the field and watch our team, the Yankees, there’s a lot of big strong guys out there. I would expect at least a few balls to be hit over the fence at some point. We had some good swings. We had our moments. Just by chance, there was no one on base when we popped a few balls over the fence.

But, again, that’s probably going to be at least part of the story line on a regular basis this series.

Q. Rocco, how much did those extra outs in the third inning that the defense kind of gave them affect the way you had to manage Jose?
ROCCO BALDELLI: Overall, I thought Jose threw the ball pretty well. I think he pitched with his fastball pretty well. His breaking ball kind of came and went, but I think he was able to work through a few situations and do it pretty well.

We didn’t make all the plays behind him. It did make it tough. We had to get some extra outs. We had to throw a lot more pitches. So he did have to work because of it and probably shortened the outing a little bit, which caused us to have to go to the pen and have to cover some more innings. So it’s all related.

But overall, again, I think he competed well, kept us in the game, and certainly gave us a chance. Having to pitch through those instances that you mentioned, I think he did it reasonably well.

Q. Zack had a lot of problems with his control. Stashak centered a couple of pitches. They’re rookies that are new to this. How much of that would you attribute to a big stage and their first time on it?
ROCCO BALDELLI: There’s no way to know that. These are guys we have leaned on heavily throughout the year. We’re going to continue to lean on them heavily. We’re going to see them back out there and throwing in important situations. Because of the way the game played out, one or both of those guys was going to end up in this game pitching in probably an important spot at some point.

We tried to grab those outs early from Littell in the fifth, and it played out the way it played out. But our guys are resilient. Our guys have had outings here and there over the course of the year that didn’t go as planned, and they come right back, and they’re ready to go.

Q. Rocco, you’re well aware of how patient and methodical the Yankees can be, but does seeing it happen on the stage in a playoff game difficult to prepare for experience-wise?
ROCCO BALDELLI: I mean, it looks like the same Yankee team that we’ve played against a handful of times already this year. They have a good offense, so they’re a team that you know is going to have good at-bats. You know that they’re going to generally lay off pitches out of the zone, and they’re impactful. You know what, I think they resemble our team a lot, too.

Tonight overall, they played well and got the win, but our team, as a whole — I mentioned our bullpen guys a few minutes ago, but our team as a whole has bounced back exceptionally well all year long. Regardless of what happens, the TVs will be on in the clubhouse, the music will be playing on low to medium volume, and guys will be just getting changed and getting ready for tomorrow.

Q. How did Arraez come out of the game? And did you think his ankle kept him from either making a good throw to first base or from getting to that pop-up in right field?
ROCCO BALDELLI: I don’t think so. I mean, we saw him make all the plays yesterday. We worked him out pretty good yesterday. If he had a regular week of work, would he be making a better throw on the double play? Who knows. There’s really no way to know that.

I’m going to bet on him every time being ready, making those plays. I think on the pop-up, it was kind of an odd play. I’m not sure if there was a visual issue or just missed straight out — you know, a play that he probably makes more times than not. He comes right back, puts a good swing on the ball, and gives us a chance to do something on the other side of the ball.

So I thought he was fine, and I really wasn’t worried about the injury issues at all. He came out of the game well.

Q. Rocco, in your bullpen with some of your leverage guys — I’m thinking of Romo and Rogers in particular — you’ve saved them through the season for late leads. Now, is there a point in the series where that might change, either due to results or process?
ROCCO BALDELLI: It could. We don’t generally commit to anything early, but I think there’s a chance that we end up running some of our guys that have pitched very late in the game. We could run them out there, probably still reasonably late in the game, but maybe push them up a little bit. Again, with the five innings we’re going to cover out of the bullpen tonight, we could have seen — we could have ended up seeing something like that. So that is definitely possible.

Tomorrow, after not throwing today, maybe it’s even more likely that they get out there for more extended outings.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

“Ten runs. I think it was so difficult on them, and we were able to break through in a couple of big spots.” -AARON BOONE

AL DIVISION SERIES:

YANKEES 10, TWINS 4

October 5, 2019

Aaron Boone

New York, New York – postgame 1

Yankees – 10, Twins – 4

Q. Aaron, just walk us through some of the bullpen decisions, specifically going to Britton in the seventh, and then was Happ, was that a by-product to D.J.’s double?
AARON BOONE: Yeah. We were prepared to be aggressive there, and we were prepared to try to split up the seventh, eighth, and ninth with Britton and Chappy in that spot, but once we got the lead leverage, we decided to go with J.A. there for an inning. It was good to see him get in the game like that where, obviously, a different role for him, and I thought threw the ball really well.

Q. And not sticking with Green longer? That was a matchup thing or —
AARON BOONE: A little bit in that we felt like we could split it up the seventh, eighth, and ninth and kind of wanted Greeny’s potential length for tomorrow, as well. So, yeah, a couple factors leaking into that.

Q. Obviously, you’ve watched Torres hit a lot over the last two years, but I wonder if there’s a level of appreciation, bases loaded, down 0-2, to a guy who’s pretty tough on right handers, in that situation for what kind of at-bat he had there.
AARON BOONE: It was — I mean, you nailed it. A big time at-bat against a guy that was really tough on righties. To work himself back into that count, I think the 3-2 pitch that he kind of three-quarter swing spoiled to keep surviving and then finally got a pitch he could do something with and smoked it. It was a huge at-bat, obviously, in that game. We’re kind of looking for that kind of hit. We created some pretty good traffic to that point, and that hit, I think, really, really got us rolling from there.

But it was a big time at-bat and a tough spot against a tough matchup.

Q. Take us through the thought process a little of the decision to leave Paxton in for Polanco. I’m sure there were pros and cons there and why you came out the way you did to leave him in.
AARON BOONE: We just — I felt good about him going through Polanco, and Polanco had a great night, but we’ll keep him on that side preferably. He had a great night and a great at-bat against him, but I felt like Pax was pretty strong to that point, and had Otta, obviously, ready for Cruz. But I felt good about the matchup there.

Q. When you started the inning, might you have used Ottavino for that batter had Paxton looked differently? I assume you watched him closely. You had Ottavino up at the beginning of the inning —
AARON BOONE: Yeah, he was just getting ready. It was more for Cruz.

Q. LeMahieu drops the pop-up. You probably didn’t expect to see that. What’s going through your mind when you see that?
AARON BOONE: Weird things can happen sometimes in the playoffs. You’ve got kind of a windy night, cold, one of those where maybe he thought Gleyber was going to come over, so I don’t think he was real committed at it. Then it skips off, and then we end up turning the huge double play, obviously, to get out of that inning.

Then D.J. goes and says enough and finishes off an impressive night.

Q. You’ve talked about wanting to be aggressive with the bullpen, but I think at one point there you had two of your high leverage guys get two outs, face five batters. You’ve still got a bunch of outs to cover. Did going through some of this last year make you more comfortable to sort of get in that position? Because it could also go the other way there if you don’t expend a lead where you have to cover some innings with some of your best guys.


AARON BOONE: I just think there were some spots that I felt good about certain guys in, and the other good thing about tonight is I feel like all of our guys are back in play for tomorrow, and we’re not pushing them necessarily.

So I just felt like there were certain times in the game that matchups we wanted to try to slam the door, and fortunately, the offense was able to add on to allow us to change things up a little bit and keep Britt to an inning. So it just kind of unfolded that way for us.

Q. (No microphone)?
AARON BOONE: Yeah, it obviously felt like that was a big point of the game, wanted Otta for Cruz. Cruz worked a really good at-bat on him. I thought Otto threw the ball well. If he gets out of that inning, then Kahnle has a clean one there for the sixth with everyone behind him. They made it tough and had some good at-bats, so we had to get Greeny in the mix obviously, but still felt like we were covered.

Q. Even before Torres’ hit, you had guys lay off some pretty tough breaking stuff. Is that kind of in the scouting report against them? And Torres, is that emblematic of his slow heartbeat when you guys talk about him up in that spot?
AARON BOONE: That’s controlling the strike zone, and that’s, I think, what allowed us to win the game tonight. We won a lot of 3-2 counts tonight. I thought the guys by and large, up and down the lineup, really made it tough on their pitchers because they stayed in the strike zone. When you do that, you’re able to have a night like tonight where you throw up — we got ten, right? Ten runs. I think it was so difficult on them, and we were able to break through in a couple of big spots.

Q. Just how concerning, if at all, was Stanton’s defense in left field today?
AARON BOONE: Not at all. I mean, the ball he dove for, I thought he moved really well on it, laid out, didn’t quite get it. Yeah, I’m not concerned at all.

Q. Does Aaron sometimes forget he’s 6’7″ out there in right field with the defense he was playing out there? He made some aggressive plays and a big one, too, with the line drive in the corner there.
AARON BOONE: Yeah, huge. He’s so good out there. Obviously, two great plays where he lays out for balls. You see the other things he does so well just fundamentally sound, just getting behind balls to get himself into position to make throws. And then on the offensive side, I felt every at-bat he had tonight he was all over everything. Just what might get lost in that ten-run game is the two big defensive plays that he made out in right.

Q. Are you ever going to get over him hitting the deck like that, Aaron? I know you feel great about the play, but afterwards is there a little bit of a worry to it?
AARON BOONE: I stepped up on the top step, but I felt like I saw it pretty well and kept it on the chest. I felt like we were okay with that one.

Q. How was J.A. Happ coming out of the bullpen, and could we see him start this series?
AARON BOONE: Yeah, I thought he was really good. I thought he threw the ball well. Lost Kepler, where Kepler worked a tough at-bat off him, but I thought he threw the ball great. It was good to get him out there because I really think J.A. Happ is going to play a big role for us if we’re going to go deep in this playoffs, and it could be in so many different roles. It could be in a high leverage situation for short. It could be a matchup situation. It could be starting a game. It could be in a lot of different roles, and the fact that he was ready for that tonight and came in and picked us up was big.

Q. We always talk about Gleyber’s approach at the plate, but what is it about his personality and his mental game that allows him at 22 to thrive in these kinds of situations?
AARON BOONE: He’s smart, and he’s confident, and that’s a really good combination when you’re talented. But I think those are the two biggest things. He’s shown an ability to make adjustments, to understand what teams and pitchers are doing to him, and he has a lot of confidence in his ability and came up big tonight again.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

MAPLE LEAFS POSTGAME NOTES: Mike Babcock moved into sole possession of eighth place in NHL history with 693 wins (Dick Irvin – 692).

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (2-0-0 – 4 Points) vs. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (0-1-0 – 0 Points)

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2019

1 2 3 OT FINAL TORONTO 1 1 2 – 4 COLUMBUS 0 1 0 – 1

ON THE SCORESHEET

  • Mitch Marner opened the scoring on the power play at 12:04 of the first period and later scored his second of the night at 2:16 of the third period. He added an assist on Matthews’ third period power player goal and has points (2-2-4) in consecutive games to start the season. Marner was tied with Morgan Rielly for the team lead in power play points last season with 21 (3 goals, 18 assists).
  • Cody Ceci scored his first of the season and first goal as a Maple Leaf at 10:35 of the second period. Ceci recorded 26 points (7 goals, 19 assists) in 74 games with the Ottawa Senators last season.
  • Auston Matthews scored on the power player for his third goal of the season at 14:04 of the third period. Matthews’ has three goals through the first two games of the season. Tonight marks Matthews’ 21st multi-goal game of his career.
  • John Tavares registered the primary assist on Marner’s first period power play goal and later set up Marner for his second of the night. Tavares has points (0-3-3) in consecutive games to start the season.
  • Morgan Rielly picked up the secondary assist on Marner’s first period power play goal and later set up Cody Ceci on his first goal as a Maple Leaf and registered the primary assist Matthews’ third period power play goal. Rielly has consecutive points (0-4-4) through the first two games of the season. Tonight marks Rielly’s 25th career multi-assist game.
  • William Nylander recorded the secondary assist on Cody Ceci’s second period goal. Nylander has registered an assist in consecutive games.
  • Jake Muzzin registered his first point of the season with the secondary assist on Marner’s third period goal.
  • – Frederik Andersen stopped 28 of 29 shots to earn his second win of the season.
    SHOTS ON GOAL (5-on-5 in brackets)
    1st 2nd 3rd OT TOTAL
  • TORONTO 10 9 10 – 29
  • COLUMBUS 9 11 9 – 29
  • SHOT ATTEMPTS (5-on-5 in brackets)
  • 1st 2nd 3rd OT TOTAL
  • TORONTO 15 15 10 – 40
  • COLUMBUS 15 15 10 – 40

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

  • The Maple Leafs are 1-0-0 on the road this season.
  • – Toronto’s all-time record is 14-11-1-3 in 29 games against the Blue Jackets and 8-5-0-1 in 14 games played in Columbus.
  • – Toronto is 2-0-0 against the Eastern Conference this season and 1-0-0 against the Metropolitan Division.
    MAPLE LEAFS LEADERS
    Shots 4 (Marner, Matthews)
    Shot Attempts 8 (Muzzin)
    Faceoff Wins 10 (Tavares)
    Faceoff Win Percentage 88% (Kerfoot – 7 won, 1 lost)
    Hits 3 (Moore, Sandin)
    Blocked Shots 3 (Matthews)
    Takeaways 2 (Ceci)
    TOI 23:33 (Ceci)
    Power Play TOI 3:45 (Matthews)
    Shorthanded TOI 3:25 (Muzzin)
    Shifts 33 (Rielly)
    5-on-5 Shot Attempt Percentage 87.50% (Spezza – 7 for, 1 against)

RECORD WHEN…

  • The Maple Leafs were 4-for-5 on the penalty kill and 2-for-5 on the power play tonight. Toronto is 1-00 when allowing a power play goal this season and 1-0-0 when scoring more than one power play goal.
  • – Toronto is 1-0-0 when scoring the first goal of the game.
  • – The Maple Leafs are 1-0-0 when leading after one period and 2-0-0 when leading after two periods.
  • – Toronto is 1-0-0 when tied in shots on goal with their opponent.
  • – The Maple Leafs are 1-0-0 in Friday games.
    OF NOTE…
  • Cody Ceci was on the ice for a team-high 22 Toronto shot attempts-for at 5-on-5. Ceci finished the game with a 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage of 53.66 percent (22 for, 19 against).
  • – Alexander Kerfoot was 7-for-1 (88%) in the faceoff circle tonight.
  • Jason Spezza made his Maple Leaf debut tonight. Spezza led all skaters in 5-on-5 shot percentage (80.7% – 7 for, 1 against).
  • – With a victory tonight head coach Mike Babcock moved into sole possession of eighth place in NHL history with 693 wins (Dick Irvin – 692).

UPCOMING GAMES:

  • Saturday, October 5, 7:00 p.m. vs. Montreal Canadiens (Sportsnet, FAN 590)
  • – Monday, October 7, 7:00 p.m. vs. St. Louis Blues (TSN4, TSN 1050) –
  • Thursday, October 10, 7:00 p.m. vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (Sportsnet Ontario, FAN 590) –
  • Saturday, October 12, 7:00 p.m. at Detroit Red Wings (Sportsnet, TSN 1050) – Tuesday, October 15, 7:00 p.m. vs. Minnesota Wild (TSN4, FAN 590)

MAPLE LEAFS 4, BLUE JACKETS 1 “I thought in certain breakouts we didn’t rush it, we took our time, we stopped and came back as a group.” – MITCH MARNER (2 GOALS, 1 ASSIST).

HEAD COACH MIKE BABCOCK

On Andersen’s steady presence to start the game: Any time you come on the road you know you’re going to have to try and weather the first ten and do good things. I thought we did a good job of that and got through that. We got playing pretty good when we went ahead 2-0 and then we got carried away turning the puck over a number of times. Then giving them a goal there and they got some momentum. I thought we got ourselves reset in between the second and third and came out and played well.

On how the power play is coming together early in the season: Obviously you want it to be real dangerous. We have good people on it and a good scheme. I thought Little John did a great job tonight, taking away the goalies eyes which really helped on two of the goals. One wasn’t a power play but two goals. That’s a big part of it but obviously you want success on your special teams.

On what he thought of the fourth line, drawing a penalty and the sequence that led to the Ceci goal: Yeah we had [Kefoot’s] line out there and then Spezza’s line got out there and their centre was out there for a minute and thirty. It was kind of back-to-back-to-back there which was a real good job. I thought Spezza was real good. I thought he was real happy to be doing what he’s doing. He was great on the bench, he was great on the ice and he was good in the room. I thought he did a good job for us so good for him. Now we’re going to go right back the way we were tomorrow and give those guys another opportunity and then we’ll come back again the following game.

On if Spezza’s job on the penalty kill is to win the faceoff and get to the bench: That’s his job basically and we do the same with [Gauthier] on the other side at the start and then we play him later in the penalty kill. We’ve got some real good penalty killers, Mikheyev’s going to be a real good one and then when you put in the guys like [Marner], [Moore] and [Kapanen], those are good guys and we want them out there first but we need someone to get the draw. I thought he did a good job of that. He got caught the one time but I actually put him out on the end which probably screwed him a bit. He was breathing out his eye lids when he got back to the bench. I asked him if he could take the faceoff and he said for sure and didn’t and they seamed him. Got running around a little bit but that’s part of it. I was impressed with him tonight and he was happy to do what we needed him to do.

CODY CECI (1 GOAL)

On if it feels good to score his first goal of the season: Yeah for sure. First game was a little overwhelming with playing the old team and everything but tonight felt a little better. It was nice to get that first one out of the way and help the team win.

On the importance of getting traffic in front of the net: It was all [Johnsson], he was in front of the net all night. He made it possible for us to get them through. To have that screen is huge, especially in this league. Goalies are going to stop you if you’re 1-on-1 but having the screen helps a lot.

On Matthew’s shot: It’s just amazing. You see it day after day is pretty amazing. Usually you see it on SportsCentre but now I get to see it every single day. It’s pretty cool, cool to watch and nice to see how fast he can get it off.

MARNER (2 GOALS, 1 ASSIST)

On what went well tonight for the team: I thought our puck moving was good. I thought in certain breakouts we didn’t rush it, we took our time, we stopped and came back as a group. I thought when they had their rushes we came back as a unit and stopped them. That’s what we need to do more this season, coming back as a five-man unit and stopping those rushes. Like I said, I thought our puck moving was good, a lot of guys shooting it and getting second opportunities from it.

On Andreas Johnsson tenacity in front of the net: You saw that last year and the year before. He’s a guy that isn’t overly big but not afraid to get to that net. That’s something you love on your team and love to have. He’s been a lot of fun to watch and his skill set around the net but also when he has the puck is spectacular. He’s been a big part of this team and will be going forward.

ANDERSEN (28 SAVES)

On the importance of weathering the storm early: Yeah of course on the road you want to start playing simple and obviously don’t turn it over too many times but I thought we did a good job of sustaining the pressure and getting on with the game.

On Matthew’s shot in the third period: That was very accurate. That was crazy. His shot is second to none and also I thought [Johnsson] in front did a hell of a job and also on Mitch’s goal. He’s done that a few times now and that’s equally as important. I don’t know if the goalie would have stopped it anyway but a presence in front of the net like that is really important.

“Guys had great at-bats. Really pleased with where our offense is.” — Shildt

NLDS:

CARDINALS 7, BRAVES 6

October 3, 2019

Mike Shildt

Atlanta, Georgia – postgame 1

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Mike Shildt?

Q. How important was the come back in the eighth to set up what happened in the ninth?
MIKE SHILDT: That was clearly huge. Good at-bats throughout. But to be able to get the tie and set us up obviously for the ninth as well, but can’t win it unless you tie it.

Q. Marcell Ozuna, what did you see in his approach in the big at-bat tonight? You keep him in the clean-up spot all season, and there he was tonight.
MIKE SHILDT: I loved our at-bats. Sometimes the at-bat that you see leads up to the bats previously. I loved our at-bats all night. And I love Marcell’s at-bats. Just calm, letting the game come to him.

You can tell he didn’t get a pitch he liked first pitch, chased on the breaking ball, and then you could see him kind of reset, not try to do too much, just put a swing on it. And he got awarded with a nice double down the line with two runs — big swing, good at-bat, great approach.

Q. Can you sense a difference in the vibe or the atmosphere after Goldschmidt’s home run? And how much of a spark was that for you guys, do you think?
MIKE SHILDT: You’re down 3-1. Their guys are getting some outs, we’re still taking some good at-bats, just nothing to show for it. And then Goldy gets into one and you know you’re a swing away.

Definitely got some life back to us, but I don’t want to minimize that we didn’t have life before that. But when you get down 3-1, next thing you know, boom, 3-2, and here we go. Big swing.

Q. In the eighth, you had a chance to walk Swanson to force Melancon out of the game. What were your thoughts?
MIKE SHILDT: I like the bat with Swanson. We’re going to be careful with him. Carlos had his command of his slider and his fastball at that point.

So had some thought process behind it. I’d rather not share too much of it. But numbers were pretty good individually on Swanson and we went from there.

Q. Building on that a little, how do you assess Carlos’ night as a whole? Obviously the ninth was a little different than the eighth for him.
MIKE SHILDT: Listen, that’s a big out on want Swanson. You got the go-ahead run at second base. He comes in and makes tough pitches to Swanson. That’s a big job he did right there.

Goes back out, honestly the only issue I had in the whole inning was the walk to Hamilton. You got a lead regardless of size and you go out and get the lead-off guy on. And he gave up a few homers.

But good news about Carlos and Yadi was right there with him, he wasn’t going to back down, made quality pitches got great stuff and made a lot of really good pitches.

Q. If you look at this game and you see big hits, big extra base hits from Carpenter, Goldschmidt and Ozuna. Is this the kind of game that if I told you in March was going to happen in October, is that about right?
MIKE SHILDT: You could have told me that this afternoon. You could have told me that at any point with this group. Carp, great at-bat, really pro at-bat. Ready to go. Locked in. Goldy, big at-bat. Of course we talked about the Ozuna bat.

Another guy that took a couple of big at-bats was Dexter, took some really good at-bats, great base running going first to third. That was big, help set that inning up. Eddie’s hit was big, but Bader manufactured a run, bunt him over, steal third, Dex, two strikes, gets him in. And then got us going a little bit in the ninth as well. Good at-bats throughout but not surprising.

Q. What I meant is you guys, we talked the last couple days defense and pitching, defense and pitching, but every once in a while the bats can get going?
MIKE SHILDT: Let’s don’t kid ourselves, we want to score. We want some good at-bats. We can hang our hat on that and keep us in games, but we don’t feel obligated to being two dimensional.

We can do the all four quadrants — base running, we can definitely hit, swinging bats and guys had great at-bats. Really pleased with where our offense is.

Q. At this point, would you first discuss the unusual, rather bizarre play where they got two runs on the ground ball? And then also talk about Mikolas’ game?
MIKE SHILDT: First, it was unique play. To say I loved the play, I didn’t love the result. But I loved the play. What I mean by that, Eddie got a really tough in-between hop. And, look, you can try to catch it. You try to catch that ball, it might end up in left field. He just did what he could to smother it. So, he showed some toughness; that’s a tough play. And he showed toughness to make it.

Then it kicks away. Pauly is on point, goes over. And at that point he’s trying to make a play. And I love the fact our guys are going to be aggressive and look to make plays. And he tried to make a play. Kolten tries to make a pick. Just kicked away, allowed another run to score.

But I had no issue with that play, Geo did a nice job coming back in that count, getting that swing.

And just in between on Eddie, kicked off; Pauly tried to make a play; Kolten tried to make a play and didn’t get it done, but I love the mindset.

Q. Mikolas?
MIKE SHILDT: Mikolas I thought was really good, got better as the game went. Little trouble early on, getting into his rhythm, getting his pitches to go work with them a little bit, but I love the fact that he just kept looking to get better as the game went.

I loved the fact that when he got in the situations, he was able to bear down and make pitches. And then he got through five; and, listen, he could have gone back out, but we really like the matchup with Webb obviously coming in with the lefties. Miles had had a fair amount of stress during the course of the five. And I felt like it was an appropriate move. I thought Miles was really, really good. I don’t want him to get lost in this game because he kept it right there for five.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

“We still came back, had the tying run at the plate when the game ended after getting down really good.” — Snitker

NL DIVISION SERIES: CARDINALS 7, BRAVES 6

October 3, 2019

Brian Snitker

Atlanta, Georgia – postgame 1

Q. Just how much did Martin’s injury change the course of action in the game and what you had set up?
BRIAN SNITKER: A lot. We had the whole thing set up right where we wanted it. It’s exactly what we were working towards throughout the whole game was to get us to those two guys. And that was a big blow.

Q. You kind of saw the best and the worst of Ronald Acu�a tonight. Obviously he had a great day at the plate. He made a play or two in the outfield. And we also saw the other side of it. Could you maybe take us through a couple of things he did tonight, first of all, in the first inning was he stealing on his own?
BRIAN SNITKER: Yeah, he had a green light. And he picked a breaking ball. And he picked it and threw him out. But he was on his own.

Q. In the fifth or sixth inning we have the long ball that was a single. What was your thought on that?
BRIAN SNITKER: That he should have been on second. And we’re kind of shorthanded to do anything about it right there. You hate to see that happen.

Q. Did you talk to him again?
BRIAN SNITKER: I haven’t had a chance to talk to anybody yet.

Q. You mentioned setting it up for Martin. Was there any thought of bringing Fried out another inning based on the work he had done or did you —
BRIAN SNITKER: No, it was kind of where — the game was right where we wanted it right there. I mean it was into the heat of the — the meat of the right-handed lineup. Actually if Fried would have got to Goldschmidt I would have brought Martin in on Goldschmidt then.

It actually lined up just like I wanted it to. It’s just a shame that he got hurt.

Q. The Braves have always come from behind most of the year and they’ve done it again tonight. Did that surprise you at all?
BRIAN SNITKER: No, I mean that’s kind of how these guys are. I wish we got started a little earlier in the evening, honestly. But it’s good. We still came back, had the tying run at the plate when the game ended after getting down really good.

It was just a situation where you talk about how the ball bounces, and there were some balls just inside the line over the course of the game. And that’s the way it goes.

Q. Did you think that the Cardinals might walk Swanson to force you to pinch-hit for Melancon?
BRIAN SNITKER: I thought that might have been possible. I like Dansby up there in those situations. He’s gotten a lot of big hits in those situations. But I thought maybe that could have been.

It’s kind of like — I was prepared for it if they would have.

Q. A lot of people might focus on the two rallies in the eighth and ninth, but how much did Goldschmidt’s home run change the complexion of the game for you, do you think?
BRIAN SNITKER: Anytime you can cut the lead to one, I think that’s huge. That’s a big at-bat right there. When Martin went down, I just hoped that maybe Luke could get us through three outs and get the ball to Melancon.

And the guy is so dangerous. You’re always aware where he’s at in the lineup, and it’s big. Anytime you get something like that to get you a run closer that’s huge in a game like that.

Q. How big or how short is Mark’s leash in the ninth?
BRIAN SNITKER: Melancon? No, you know what, again he was victimized by some balls that were just hit just right. His leash is pretty good right there. Kind of where we’re at in our bullpen and how it’s been set up. He’s been our guy in the ninth inning, and it’s those guys at this time of year are probably going to have a little longer leash than normal.

Q. How do you personally handle nights like this, albeit the postseason being different, but you’ve been doing this long enough; it’s there; it slips away and you almost get it back?
BRIAN SNITKER: You have to put it behind you. Tomorrow’s a new day. We’re going to come out, do everything we can to win tomorrow. I know it’s the postseason, but again it’s baseball. We’ve been through this a lot. We’ve lost a lot of tough games, came back and rallied and had good runs and we’ll have to do the same tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

“I feel like in the second half, I started to get my feet under me and kind of get a good mental process going into games, and started to feel a lot more comfortable here.” –James Paxton

AL DIVISION SERIES: TWINS VS YANKEES

October 3, 2019

James Paxton

New York, New York – Workout Day

Q. James, what does it mean to you that they’re giving you the ball in Game 1 of the ALDS?
JAMES PAXTON: I’m excited. It’s going to be awesome. I’m really honored to get this opportunity to pitch Game 1. It’s going to be great.

Q. This is going to be your first playoff experience. Who are you going to talk to? What are you going to draw on to kind of get ready for that?
JAMES PAXTON: Luckily, a lot of players have had experience in the postseason. I’ve been talking to teammates and asking them what it’s like, what it’s like to pitch in the postseason. I’ve been watching the past two Wild Card games. I’m going to watch the games tonight just to watch what happens and kind of feel that emotion and try and learn something from those games.

Q. James, you were in a team that notoriously didn’t make the playoffs for a very long time. We know that Felix spent 14 seasons there without ever pitching in the playoffs. You have a singular perspective about what it’s like, this opportunity? What does this really mean to you in terms of spending your entire career with another team who never did that?
JAMES PAXTON: Yeah, I feel very fortunate to be here. This is a team that commits itself to winning and making it to the postseason every year. That’s a dream for all baseball players when we’re young, is to pitch in the postseason, pitch in the World Series. That’s what we’re all dreaming of. To get the opportunity and the chance to go out there and do this, I feel pretty lucky.

Q. James, first of all, how’s the glute?
JAMES PAXTON: It’s good. It will be a nonissue.

Q. Secondly, you talked about watching these games this week. Have you watched much postseason action in the past?
JAMES PAXTON: At times. I haven’t watched it as closely just because, when you’re out of it, you don’t really feel like watching more baseball. You’ve watched 162. It’s kind of like, all right, move on a little bit. Plus, it hurts a little bit to watch the teams play that are there.

But going into it, these past two games, I’ve just kind of watched how the starting pitchers have handled the games and just the crazy things that can happen in postseason games. That first Wild Card game, the Nationals were down the whole time and then had a chance to come back and win the game.

Last night, Charlie Morton, watching him, he didn’t have his best location, he was kind of scuffling early, but he battled and stayed with it and got the job done. You can learn things from stuff like that.

Q. James, it seemed like, when you first came over here, it was a little bit of an adjustment process earlier in the season, like it would be for any new player coming over. How long did it take for you to actually consider this as home for you, Yankee Stadium, and pitching in the Bronx, until you felt comfortable and felt you could be the pitcher you knew you could be?
JAMES PAXTON: The first half of the season was tough, just kind of navigating myself and pitching here. It is different. It’s not easy, and it took some work. I feel like in the second half, I started to get my feet under me and kind of get a good mental process going into games, and started to feel a lot more comfortable here.

Q. Did it become a strength for you pitching in this building, with the crowds they get every night and that sort of thing?
JAMES PAXTON: I don’t really think about that much, but I definitely do feel comfortable pitching in Yankee Stadium.

Q. We know starting pitchers are such creatures of habit. When did Aaron Boone let you know you’d be getting the Game 1 start, and what’s your routine been like as you’re preparing for tomorrow’s start?
JAMES PAXTON: He told me yesterday, got the official word, but I’ve been kind of preparing — like, he told all of us to prepare like it could be us that first game. So I threw my bullpen on Tuesday like I normally would for a Friday start. I’ve been doing all my routine, getting ready like it’s Friday. So getting that word, stayed in my routine, and I’m ready to go.

Q. James, for a good portion of the season, the first inning seemed to give you some troubles. What have you been able to do to kind of correct that, and what will you be focusing on tomorrow with the different atmosphere?
JAMES PAXTON: Yeah, I threw a few more pitches in the bullpen second half of the season there. I forget exactly when I started doing that, but I just threw an extra 10, 12 pitches, had our bullpen catcher, Rad, stand up there and act as a hitter so I could kind of get the first few hitters out of the way in the bullpen just so to try and sharpen myself up, and that seemed to help a little bit. And also trying to be really aggressive from pitch one.

Q. James, the Twins obviously have a lot of power in their lineup, over 300 home runs. What’s the biggest challenge of facing a lineup that has that much power up and down, and specifically those guys in the middle with Kepler and Cruz?
JAMES PAXTON: Executing pitches. That’s what it’s all about. It’s staying out of the middle of the plate. If you make a mistake with a team like that, with 300 plus home runs, as you said, that just says they don’t miss them. They don’t make mistakes. They do hit good pitches here and there. There’s nothing I can do about that. I just need to limit the mistakes to try and limit the damage.

Q. Considering it’s the playoffs and considering the bullpen you guys have, do you expect to work with a shorter leash, and does that factor into how you pitch, how you start a game?
JAMES PAXTON: No. I’m going to do what I do. I’m going to go as hard as I can for as long as I can, and when they take the ball away, they take the ball away. I’ve watched postseason games before, and it does seem like the leash is shorter, especially with the bullpen that we have, but I’m not going to concern myself with that. That’s the manager’s job, pitching coach’s job. I’m going to go out there and try do my job.

Q. How much of a turning point was your start in late July against the Red Sox? You’ve talked about how they sat fastball, adjusted to cutter, didn’t really look for the curveball. They end up with four homers in that game. You really incorporated the curveball after that. How much was that a turning point, and why did that work so well?
JAMES PAXTON: Yeah, I think that incorporating the curveball is really important because it’s just a change of speeds. When I throw the fastball at, say, 94 to 96, and then I throw the cutter at 88 to 91, they can kind of stay looking hard and just pull the cutter and run into it almost by accident sometimes. Whereas, if I throw the curveball at 80, 83, something like that, it will get them out front, and they won’t be able to cover two pitches with the same swing.

Q. Going with that, your confidence in your curveball seemed to grow in the second half. Was that the turning point, or is there something that let you buy in to having a better mix of pitches in the second half for you?
JAMES PAXTON: Yeah, I think that after seeing how the cutter was getting hit, we decided to mix in the curveball more, and as I threw the curveball more, I got more and more confident with that pitch, and the usage kind of went up from there.

Q. James, obviously, the weather changing might have an impact on the game. Do you prepare differently when you’re out there? Does the cold impact you when you’re pitching out there with a difference of 40 degrees from one day to the next here?
JAMES PAXTON: No, I won’t be concerned about the weather. I’ll be ready no matter what. I love pitching in any kind of weather.

Q. James, you were talking about how you waited for this moment, right? Like, this is the dream. Who did you call first? Who did you share that moment of you will be the Game 1 starter for the New York Yankees?
JAMES PAXTON: I’m trying to think of who I called first. My wife was right up there. She was one of the first. My parents and my brother and my two best friends, I called them.

Q. What did they say?
JAMES PAXTON: They were just really excited for me, super proud, super happy, and fired up to watch me pitch that Game 1. I think they’ve all been watching me for a long time, had my back, and just really proud of the hard work that I put in to get here. I feel very blessed to be where I am.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports